Exchange student Sigal Adler, from Tel-Aviv University, Israel, reports on the recent Cleveland Clinic Medical Innovation Summit which 25 Weatherhead students attended.
How many times in life do you get the chance to see what the future will be like?
I am guessing not too many. But that is exactly what was going on at the 2006 Cleveland Clinic Medical Innovation Summit. Dozens of CEOs, presidents and researchers of leading pharmaceutical and medical devices companies, physicians and financial investors were in the same room, revealing their life-long work in light of a vision of making the world a healthier place. Attendees included individuals who came to learn about new technologies and procedures from the medical point of view, and those interested in investment opportunities and healthcare systems management.
This year's focus was on Neuroscience. The early-risers had the opportunity to see features of actual live surgeries, such as Neuromodulation and Cerebrovascular Aneurysms, which left them in awe for the rest of the day.
Almost every presentation focused on a new device or procedure that when implemented saves lives or, just as important, improves its quality. Among the most exciting innovations was a small cerebral electrode that can control mood in patients who suffer from clinical depression by specific neurostimulation. Another cerebral device reduces seizure frequency in epileptic patients, and yet another physically pulls out blood clots from cerebral capillaries in patients who suffered a stroke in order to reduce brain damage in the first few critical hours. The honorable title winner, "The #1 medical innovation for 2007," is the new Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine for the prevention of cervical cancer (marketed under the name Gardasil).
Interestingly, investors seem to have a major interest in the medical industry, viewing every new development as an investment opportunity. Investors are willing to allocate capital, and then wait for years until the opportunity materializes and the investment starts bearing fruit. It appears that the medical industry is no longer a scientific estate only; it’s a growing area of interest and opportunities for business people. Same principles of developing a product for as big a market as possible, appropriate pricing and competitive advantages apply here. The end-product should be profitable, not just life-saving, lest no money will be invested.
So, Weatherhead students, there's a whole industry waiting for you behind the science curtain with a great demand and an even greater payoff. Will you have a piece of this pie?
By: Sigal Adler
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